Starting a new job is always a challenge, but stepping into the role of a community bank IT administrator can be especially daunting. Oftentimes, the IT administrator is overwhelmed and at a loss as to where to start, given the demands of the position. After all, the health of a bank’s IT assets is every bit as valuable as the money in the vault!
The IT administrator position must support two distinct roles. The position serves as the technical resource as well as an administrative resource. Primarily, they are the IT resource for servers, workstations, networks, software and other technical aspects of the bank. Additionally, the IT administrator must work with the CTO and ISO in an administrative capacity to help with IT audits, regulatory examinations and providing senior management with information about the bank’s IT infrastructure.
Today, we’ll explore the first three things a new IT administrator should accomplish for a successful initial week on the job:
1. Create an Inventory of All Hardware
The IT administrator should immediately familiarize themselves with the equipment used in the bank. Identify your servers and their roles, tally your workstations (production and any spares), examine the networking equipment in use and continue this process for printers and other peripherals until you have created a thorough inventory of all equipment you have in-house. With your inventory results in-hand, check on warranty status for all your key equipment; warranty coverage can be invaluable in case of hardware failure or if you need customer support. Be sure to include serial numbers and warranty expiration dates for every device in your master inventory.
2. Audit All of the Software in Use
What operating systems and versions are you running? What software do you use for your teller stations, for loan operations and/or ATM management functions? Don’t forget about common third party software such as MS Word, MS Excel and Adobe Acrobat. Next, determine if all software is still being supported by the vendor, and make note of the support contact for each software system or application. Finally, investigate the support end of life date for the current software systems in place. This last step will significantly help come budget season by giving you a good idea of what should be replaced in the coming year.
3. Compile an Updated List of Vendors
After the hardware and software audits are complete, begin looking at the vendors your bank uses. For regulatory compliance purposes, your institution should have a thorough vendor management program. You may be able to work with the ISO to obtain the existing list of vendors, but your fresh start with the company is a great chance to take a fresh look at the list. This should include original manufacturers, third party resellers and service providers. Vendors should be identified for both hardware and software. For example, if you use Cisco network routers, did you purchase these from Cisco or are you leasing devices from a third party reseller? Create a comprehensive vendor list of who you will contact for support during both normal business hours as well as any emergency contacts for afterhours emergencies. Your final document should have a list of all vendors and primary contacts for each specific service provided.
These three steps set the foundation for the next steps required in keeping your community bank running smoothly while transitioning to a new IT administrator. While this sounds like a large amount of work, an IT administrator does not have to do it all alone. Many financial institutions are turning to IT and security service providers to act as an extension of their organization and help augment internal IT resources. The right IT solution provider can serve as a true partner and work alongside current IT staff to help manage the network and streamline technology processes. When the IT staff has turnover or is simply unavailable, outsourcing select IT business processes helps fill the personnel gap and provide added support resources and peace of mind to all.